When doing business today there are inevitably times when you will need to hire someone to provide a service. You may or may not know this person, but if you are unfamiliar with the company you are about to hire there seems to always be the urge to ask for references.

We don’t mean to be critical, but every time someone asks for a reference many of us think the same thing: Why would anyone send the name of a customer that doesn’t like them.

But then we started thinking a little more about the reasoning behind the request and came up with some suggestions.


Ask for Case Studies

Case Studies are not always posted on websites so you will have to request them. Case studies provide real life examples of how valuable a service you provide.


Look at the website

Are there learning opportunities or resources? Videos and other resources like eBooks, white papers and guides can help different visitors with information the way that they consume it.


Is there Social Activity?

Most companies now have some form of social media campaign. This is a good opportunity to learn more about how these companies communicate with the public. Are all the posts about services that the company offers or are there other posts that provide useful information from multiple sources?


Ask questions

Most companies are happy to share information about themselves; how they started, who they have worked with, etc. You should feel comfortable that the company is an authority in their field.


Get references

Keep in mind that these references should be happy with their experience. But remember to respect the references time, many of these people are heavily scheduled and may not have lots of time to answer all your questions, so be selective about what you ask and plan ahead.